It’s the holidays, right? We still have time to sneak in a few indulgences? Good, just the excuse I need for these creamy garnet sweet potatoes splashed with smoky bourbon. Funny thing is, if you looked in our liquor cabinet, you would find all sorts of wonderful things to drink—vermouth, marsala, madeira, rum, calvados, JD, Maker’s Mark—yet nobody in our family actually drinks anything beyond an occasional glass of wine or beer. Or maybe a small glass of sherry or port. All those high octane bottles are for use in cooking, including the bourbon. I love the taste of bourbon, with its slightly smoky edge. But I’m a lightweight when it comes to alcohol, so only use it for flavoring something wonderful, like chocolate bourbon cake, a New Orleans bread pudding, or these sweet potatoes.
For those of you who avoid alcohol in cooking, I’m afraid this recipe is not for you. Obviously you can easily make the mashed sweet potatoes without the bourbon; it will be great, just add some nutmeg and cinnamon to spice it up a bit. I did experiment with reducing the alcohol content in this recipe by boiling the bourbon first, to accelerate the evaporation, but while the alcohol was reduced, so was the taste of the bourbon. So if you want the wonderful note that the bourbon provides, you’ll just have to add it as is.
- 3 pounds garnet sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
- 3 to 4 Tbsp of bourbon whisky
- 4 Tbsp butter (more or less to taste)
- 4 Tbsp brown sugar (more or less to taste)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 Place the sweet potato chunks in a large (5 quart) pot, cover with water. Add a tablespoon of salt to the water. Bring to a boil. Cook until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.
2 Drain the cooked sweet potatoes and return them to the pot on the stove. Lower the heat to low. Add the bourbon and the butter to the pot and stir. Add the brown sugar and vanilla extract and stir. Mash with a potato masher until smooth. Add more salt, bourbon, butter, and brown sugar to taste.